LA judge to preside over Mehserle trial

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has been named to preside over the murder trial of a former BART police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed passenger at the Fruitvale station in Oakland on New Year's Day.

California Chief Justice Ronald George late Tuesday assigned Judge Robert Perry to the trial of Johannes Mehserle, which has not yet been scheduled, according to Lynn Holton, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based state Judicial Council.

Mehserle, 27, is charged with murder for the shooting death of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Hayward man, on the platform of the Fruitvale station shortly after 2 a.m. on New Year's Day.

Mehserle and other officers were called to the station to respond to reports of a fight on a train.

In October, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson, citing “a high degree of political turmoil” in the case, ruled that the trial should be moved out of the county.

Last month, Jacobson selected Los Angeles County as the new venue.

Holton said that Perry, a judge since 1992, is known for his experience in presiding over high-profile criminal cases. Before becoming a judge, Perry worked in private law practice and for the U.S. Department of Justice.

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